Putting a piece of myself into characters always makes me a little nervous, but it’s the easiest way I know how to tell my audience, “You’re not alone. Others are going though similar stuff and made it though. You’re going to be okay. I promise.”
Tay LaRoi – 8 February 2018
The Back Flap
After the fall of Queen Mab, DJ Suzuki resolves herself to an aimless life of entertaining, drinking, and hooking up within the Faerie Realm. After twenty ageless years, she knows she can’t go back to her family, despite the fact that her brother still searches for her and the small voice telling her that her parents might have had a change of heart about her orientation.
When a young woman named Talia shows up at DJ’s workplace desperate for help, DJ sees a way to rid herself of the guilt of staying away: she’ll take Talia where she needs to go if Talia rids DJ’s family of all memory of her. Talia will be safe and DJ will be free to live in the Faerie Realm with a clear conscious. Everyone wins.
Except there’s more to Talia and her situation than she’s letting on. Her pursuers want more than just her. They want the Faerie Court, and Talia is the key to getting it. If DJ can’t get Talia to safety before they catch up, a guilty conscious will be the least of her worries. She just might have a faerie civil war on her hands.
About the book
What is the book about?
“Tale” is about an ex-faerie knight that is struggling to find where she belongs now that she’s on her own. She’s human, so she doesn’t completely fit in the Faerie Realm, but she’s been there so long that she doesn’t feel like she fits in among humans either. I grew up mixed (my mom is white, dad is black), so it’s a conflict that hits pretty close to home for me, except I didn’t grow up around magic.
On top of that, she went through some pretty dark stuff thanks to the queen she served (Queen Mab from the last book, Portraits of a Faerie Queen). So, as a bigger picture, I guess you could say it’s about finding one’s way in the world when the road map so far has been a mess. Here’s a spoiler: it helps when you have people who love you there to help untangle everything. 🙂
When did you start writing the book?
The summer of 2016. It started out as a Camp NaNoWriMo project.
How long did it take you to write it?
About two months. I really wanted to push myself to see what I could accomplish in a short amount of time. Considering how much I had to edit afterwards (sorry, Jason), I still think I did a pretty solid job for the timeline I put myself on.
Where did you get the idea from?
When I wrapped up Portraits of a Faerie Queen, I knew I wanted to find out what happened to the court after Jocelyn left and I knew Talia was going to be a key part–though I can’t tell you why–but I struggled for a long time with who would narrate the story. Zedd’s song “Daisy” came on Spotify one day when I was about to give up and try an entirely new angle, and, thus, Daisy Jane was born.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
DJ’s motivations were really had to pin down. I knew right away that she was the kind of person not to wear her heart on her sleeve, so her actions motivated by her rough exterior were easy to figure out, but the more nuanced, complicated things I knew she had to do were really hard to figure out.
What came easily?
DJ’s chemistry with the characters around her. For some reason, character interactions are always the easiest thing for me to write. When they are alone with themselves or dealing with the larger plot, things get more difficult.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
I try not to borrow too much from people, because I don’t think I could do their stories justice. There’s just so much of it I wouldn’t know. I borrow from my own life from time to time, though. DJ’s struggle with her family was inspired by things I was going through while I was writing her story, more so internal fears and questions rather than real events. Putting a piece of myself into characters always makes me a little nervous, but it’s the easiest way I know how to tell my audience, “You’re not alone. Others are going though similar stuff and made it though. You’re going to be okay. I promise.”
Do you have a target reader for this book?
Like Portraits of a Faerie Queen, “Tale” is YA with a special focus on queer teen girls. If teens of any other variety feel drawn to it, then by all means, give it a read! I’m always happy to give someone a story, but this story was definitely written with queer girls in mind since I didn’t have any stories like this when I was their age.
How was writing this book different from what you’d experienced writing previous books?
The timeline flew by a lot faster. “Portraits” only took six months more from conception to release, but I didn’t take nearly as much writing time on “Tale.” Between writing and edits, I’d say I only took three months total. All that other time was due to other stuff.
What new things did you learn about writing, publishing, and/or yourself while writing and preparing this book for publication?
Writing wise, I learned that character motivation is everything. I took that for granted with Portraits of a Faerie Queen because Jocelyn’s motivation was clear from the get go. DJ’s definitely was not, but once I found it, everything fell into place.
As far as myself goes, I’ve learned that I’m actually kinda cool. Not to say I felt there was anything particularly wrong with myself before, but I tell people I’ve written books that are published and their eyes light up, even if my stuff isn’t in a genre they like. To get that reaction has sort of made me stop and examine how I see myself. That may or may not play a part in the theme of the next Faerie Court Chronicle. You’ll have to keep up with these crazy characters to find out!
End of Interview: